Well Dtoid, its almost Christmas and soon enough it will be the start of new years day. With only one more entree to go and one more game to go I think I will accomplish my goal. Its been a long ride, and with the world not ending it looks like I truly have to finish this challenge. Still I only have a little less than a week left, its a bit surreal. But for now, my thoughts on games I have beaten.
Game 55: Castlevania Ė Date Beat November 1st
Castlevania is a wonderful game, but man is it challenging. The last boss alone took me about as much as the rest of the game to beat. Weíre talking like 5 hours ongoing, all just for one boss. Castlevania just demands so much from the player that it can often be overwhelming. I literally started playing around February during this challenge, but once I got to the final boss I just couldnít do it. 2 forms, only getting a chance to get hit 3 times, it was intense! But when Halloween drew near I knew I had to get back on the trolley. So during Halloween I spent several hours trying to beat Dracula. I still couldnít, struck with defeat I decided to turn in for tomorrow, and try again later. And well during school I decided, after a friend stated ďit was easyĒ that I had to beat it then and there. Focused, I finally won the battle, but as for myself I was still feeling adrenaline rushing through my body, and my hands shaking. To say the least, Castlevania gave me a challenge of a life time, and for that I thank it.
See Castlevania has this wonderful system of challenging you throughout the whole game. It never really stops testing you, and you always have to be on your toes and sharp as a whip. The fact the game bases everything on the direction youíre going through is amazing, and really something more developers should focus on. Itís just one of those games that give out tough love, itís not trying to sugarcoat anything for you, and thatís what makes it so fun. I tired as hard as I could, but when I failed the game simply said try again. Sure I was mad, but it still gives you the tools to get things done in the end. The way to the reaper, and the way to Dracula are paved with everything you need to take them down, so even if you die, you still have the tools available to you. So you still have to earn everything you do, but you fill so much more enjoyment when you actually beat it. For this reason, I say the first Castlevania game is the best I have ever played. Itís not just the monster lore, the catchy music or the visuals, but the game design itself. Itís rewarding, challenging, and thatís what makes it fun.
Castlevania has everything going for it, and you can see the love the designers put into it. The visuals, music, enemies, power-ups, everything about it is just top notch. But what truly makes this game shine is the challenge it provides, itís never too difficult to get past, but just enough to always keep you on edge.
Game 56: Sonic Advance 3 date beat November 20th
As someone that is an avid fan of the sonic series and the advance series, SA3 just doesn't cut it. I understand that people like it, and ya itís not a bad game, but itís the weakest of the series. Just everything about it doesn't grab my attention like other advance games do. There are just a lot of little problems I have with it that don't make it fundamentally a good sonic game to me. Sonic thrives on fast place gameplay mixed with well-timed jumps and speed running tactics, and that's something I don't really see in SA3.
Zones are, for some reason, there to explore rather than acting as a nice way to divided all the acts. As well, the way these zones act are already a big turret for me to even play the game. I understand they were trying to go with a sonic adventure vibe, but the zones are just far too shallow and pointless to really make anything worthwhile by having them there. The game would have easily benefited with a quicker menu option.
Getting chaos emeralds are even more tedious than ever as well. While in the first two games getting chaos emeralds was simpler, you got the chaos emeralds by both collecting 50 rings and finding a spring to the special stage or collecting 7 rings scattered throughout certain levels. SA3 however, has you collecting all the chao's in a zone, and SA3 doesnt just stop there, as after getting the chao's you then have to find a key found in one of the acts of a zone to unlock the special stage and then past the stage in order to get the chaos emerald. This new way to get chaos emeralds is really off putting to me, and it just ruins the concept of skill in getting a chaos emerald, and replaces it with tedious treasure hunting.
On top of that, the majority of the ending levels are just too long for their own good. In my opinion, Sonic does best when each level is around 3-4 mins long around the first time beating it, and about 2-3 during speed runs, if not faster. During my playthrough however I sometimes got to around 5-6 mins. just trying my best on getting to the end. While I'm not the best sonic player, I have to say that a lot of these levels just drag on. It gets annoying when you keep dying at one spot only to realize you were only half way through the level. Not to mention that a few levels have small loops here and there that makes progress annoying as hell because if you mess up on one part itís pretty much back to start. I also want to know why partners are able to hinder your way through a level; its just really dumb to see the CPU use up a platform that will fall if you or the CPU land on it.
As for the other parts of the game, mainly the new partner system, not a fan. While I usually have something good to say or something of the like, SA3 just makes me mad at what might have been. The partner system just seems a bit broken to me. The way it gives advantages and disadvantages toward certain pairings just makes it control bad, and itís just awkward in the long run. Too many things change with each different character in order to play them like you usually would pending on your partner. For instance, having pretty much anyone but tails as your partner automatically makes sonic lose his tricks and his ball when he jumps. This makes for a lot of annoying mechanics rather than nice additional ones. I understand they donít want to make a truly broken pairing which breaks the game, but changing the way the character moves, runs, and walks makes playing a game based on physics really hard to adjust too. Frankly it just got to the point of just sticking to sonic and tails because they seemed to be the only pairing that actually worked.
Conclusion: Sonic Advance 3 is easily the weakest in the series, and this is due to a lot of interesting ideas being executed in a mediocre fashion. While SA3 certainly isn't a bad game, it really tries too many things at once to really create a robust system for any of the new ideas it wants to try. At the least, SA3 can be enjoyed by fans, but itís better if everyone else plays one of the earlier games in the advance series.
Game 57: Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Ė date beat Thanksgiving day
While I normally like Dragon Quest games, DQVI I have an utter dislike for. Everything about DQ6 could be right, but itís just not, itís just long, drawn out, boring, hallow, and dumb. The biggest problem I have with it is the constant padding throughout the game. There are just so many things this game could cut to make it shorter and thus less drawn out, but the game constantly insists to waste your time. Truth be total the padding wouldnít be so bad either if the random battle rates weren't that bad either, but that isn't true. My game clocked in well above 50 hrs. and it really got to the point of just wanting to stop for the longest time.
The story itself just isn't interesting either, and while it does try to get interesting it really just ends up being a hallow mess of interest. The fact that the game starts out with amnesia characters is bad enough, but the way they develop them is slow and then increasingly fast, then none at all. I personally had more emotion for side characters in DQ9 than I did for the main characters in DQ6. And you'd think that the idea behind a dream world and real world would be a little more interesting, but it just doesn't quite get there. And also the fact that there are even more areas to travel make me incredibly annoyed because there are just so much bloody space on the map, so itís like why donít you use all of it? On top of that, the game doesn't give you a strong sense of direction not even half way through the game; I'd say it took about an hour in to start wondering where you should go. But perhaps the worst part about this game is that it just doesn't end, and it goes so slow. Iím really not sure if I would have beat this game if I didnít watch all of the supernatural series while playing this game throughout the episodes.
Perhaps, the only redeeming note DQ6 has is the vocation system. While itís somewhat present in DQ8, I have been missing how great it was like in DQ9. While DQ6's vocation system isn't as robust as DQ9's vocation, itís still a fun system that can help boost characters and make them better than ever. Just something about making your characters your own personal healer or attacker or what have you, makes things a little more enjoyable to play the game. But overall, DQ6 is just really weak as a game, and I strongly suggest even fans to not play it, itís not bad, but man is it disappointing. What probably hurts more is that it was just now a recent port to the states.
Conclusion: Dragon Quest 6's only good contribute to the franchise is the vocation system, the ability to choose what class you want to be gives a sense of customizing and itís a fun, exciting system. As for the rest of DQ6, itís a pile of mess that is way too drawn out, and not nearly as in depth as it wants to appear to be. I strongly suggest scratching your Dragon Quest itch with a different game.